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Buckler, London

Victoriana and 21st century elements collide in the US premium denim brand’s first UK store.

When US menswear brand Buckler unveiled its first UK store in London during London Fashion Week, the launch party guests proved to be something of a coup. Model Agyness Deyn and singer Amy Winehouse both turned up for a dance, thereby guaranteeing coverage in the next day’s newspapers about the store’s opening.

The premium denim label is already a big hit Stateside, since designer Andrew Buckler, born and trained in the UK, launched it in 1991. Now the designer has returned to the UK to conquer his home territory.

Tucked away on Artillery Lane, a Dickensian street to the east of Liverpool Street station, the London store is perhaps a little too hidden away to benefit from a stampede of passing trade, but for those making the effort the shop is an aesthetic treat.

With a facade that is sympathetic to its historic location, the store stands on the same foundations as a former entrance to Henry VIII’s artillery grounds. In keeping with this legacy, the aim of the store design was to create a shop which tips a nod to the past, utilising timber and a facade from the original site.

The Buckler clothes on show are bright and preppy, and the store is a sophisticated home for this contemporary label. A signwriter was drafted in to hand paint the Buckler name above the door in saloon-style lettering which, along with a swing sign hoisted high above street level, is a subtle call to customer attention.

Once through the wide-fronted doorway and inside the store, the carefully selected decorative objects on show make for happy browsing, while the introduction of steel columns and beams creates a welcome contrast to the aged timber.

Decorative design elements include a Royal College of Surgeons antique cabinet, a cuboid clock from a Camden pub and 1940s plywood chairs from primary schools, which were mainly sourced from archi-tectural salvage yard Lassco in Vauxhall, south London. Antique apothecary bottles line the windowsill, which perches above restored timber flooring.

Overhead is a contemporary glass-fronted mezzanine level, where the brand’s UK wholesale operation is based. The siting of this dramatises the entrance and adds a modern twist. On the mezzanine, flatscreen TVs and contemporary furniture provides a stark contrast to a beaten leather Chesterfield and the downstairs changing rooms which feature heavy, racing green velvet curtains.

The store’s location and design echoes the brand’s original New York shop in the now-fashionable Meatpacking District. Both stores share elements, including wallpaper by Scottish textiles design firm Timorous Beasties, sleek clothing rails which snake across the shop floor, and a location with a 19th-century atmosphere.

Essentials

200: Number of steps from Liverpool Street station to the store
4: Number of Buckler standalone stores worldwide
130: Number of pieces available in the Buckler collection

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